To be in touch with one’s self and therefore the universe is the work of the beginning meditator. It demands a person to overcome restlessness, attraction, and repulsion by sitting with whatever thoughts and feelings that arise. Practice and earnestness make this possible. But after one discovers a certain amount of peace in sitting meditation, the next question is now what? How can we bring this peace into our world and not only feel it but deepen it as well?
This takes us to a very special practice that comes from Atisha, an Indian Buddhist teacher who was part of a movement to repopularize Buddhism in Tibet over a thousand years ago. Atisha developed a practical and beautiful technique called tonglen, which is Tibetan for giving and taking. More specifically, tonglen is a way for a meditator to give out compassion and take in suffering.
It is understandable if this seems counterintuitive to you. However, the Tibetan Buddhists saw this as a way to generate fearlessness in the face of the things that scare us. That can be something as mundane as public speaking or as life-changing as childbirth.
For those familiar with meditation, the first form of tonglen is the formalized sitting. Find yourself a comfortable seated position and sit for a short period of meditation. When you are ready to practice the technique, you may open your eyes or leave them closed.
Step One: Openness
Connecting with openness allows us to feel a certain confidence when confronting difficult things. Therefore before we work with the suffering in our lives, it helps to first touch base with our vast Nature. It is a reminder that you can always come back to the peaceful abiding.
To get the feeling of this openness, some people like to apply visualization. They see themselves standing before an endless white fog, at the ocean, or the wide open sky. Whatever gives you a feeling of expansive freedom. When that feeling arises, focus your attention on the feeling and forget the visual. Abide with the feeling for a few minutes.
Step Two: Breathing
monalysaaa asked: Hi lazylogi, so we hear everywhere that we should love ourselves and all that but like how do you show love to yourself?
There are many ways in which we deceive ourselves and rob ourselves of the opportunity for peace and happiness. That is a good place to start.
1. Do you judge yourself based on appearance? Do you tell your body that it should be a different way, regardless of the fact that you are healthy and alive? Do you feel empowered by some kinds of clothes/accessories and diminished when they aren’t available to you? These are some fundamental ways we forget our own innate Living beauty. Beauty is brought to the body, it is not derived from the body. The same goes for all such forms.
2. Do you need what you don’t want and want what you don’t need? Sleeping enough, eating right, exercising well, attending to responsibilities, and being grateful are all forms of self-love. To be true to those things, even in the most basic way, is joyful.
3. Do you convince yourself that you are not whole? Are you waiting for a boyfriend, girlfriend, job, apartment, car, pet, object, accomplishment, or whatever before you are willing to take yourself wholly as you are? What are you waiting for before allowing yourself to love being right where you are?
4. Who do you take yourself to be? You cannot love yourself the way you love a flower, because you are not an object. You are not your body or your mind or your circumstances. You can certainly extend love to those things but then who are you? Who is the one loving the body or the mind or the circumstances? The Love loves. Discover yourself as the very Love itself.
5. Love others. Love anything. Love just because it is there.
6. Practice tonglen.
Namaste :) Much love